Belgium aims to work with Coalition partners to combat air pollution and climate change

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Brussels, Belgium
Belgium is the 54th country to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition

Belgium has become the 54th country to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), expanding the Coalition to 116 Partners.

Upon joining the Coalition, the Federal Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Marie Christine Marghem said Belgium endorses the Coalition’s Framework and commits itself to ambitious actions to combat short-lived climate pollutants at the regional and national level, as well as through international cooperation.

In a letter outlining Belgium’s decision to join the Coalition Ms Marghem said “The Climate and Clean Air Coalition offers a unique platform to share best practices and disseminate solutions… joining the Coalition would give an additional boost to Belgium’s efforts in combatting climate change and improving air quality”. The letter also emphasised the multiple benefits of the Coalition’s integrated approach to combatting climate change and air pollution – the two most dangerous environmental threats of our time.

“Belgium’s membership of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition is the latest development in the country’s long-lasting partnership with UN Environment, which also includes work together on sustainable development and Green Economy,” noted UN Environment’s Regional Director Jan Dusík.

Over the last two decades, Belgium had an active position in the environmental arena and was able to improve its air quality and implement various climate policies. According to the OECD’s Environmental Performance Review of Belgium in 2007, the country made good progress in reducing air pollution emissions. The adoption of best available technology significantly reduced emissions from the industrial sector.

This cooperation promises to make a real difference to the environment and citizens’ lives, both in Belgium and beyond
Marie Christine Marghem
Belgium's Minister of Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development

Based on the EU Environmental Implementation Review from February 2017, Belgium is among the top performers in the EU regarding waste management with a recycling rate for municipal waste of 55% in 2014 (EU average 44% in 2014) and landfilling of biodegradable waste being eliminated.

The country is also working on decreasing emissions from its transport sector, including a recent investment in Europe’s largest ever electric-hybrid bus fleet – a purchase of 90 Volvo 7900 buses that produce up to 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than regular diesel models.

However, the Minister said that the work must continue as many challenges still lie ahead, and she expressed Belgium’s readiness to learn from the approaches applied by other members of the Coalition. “This cooperation promises to make a real difference to the environment and citizens’ lives - both in Belgium and beyond, thanks to the possibility of sharing solutions” added Jan Dusík.

The Coalition looks forward to collaborating with Belgium on reducing HFCs and black carbon in the Diesel, Finance, Agriculture and Transport sectors – pollutants and areas in which Belgium indicated particular interest in their written statement.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a voluntary global partnership of 54 countries, 17 intergovernmental organizations, and 45 businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations committed to catalysing concrete, substantial action to reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (including methane, black carbon and many hydrofluorocarbons). The Coalition has 11 initiatives working to raise awareness, mobilize resources and lead transformative actions in key sectors. Reducing short-lived climate pollutants can provide benefits to health, development, and the environment. These actions must go hand in hand with deep and persistent cuts to carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases if we are to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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